Al-Qaeda strikes in Burkina Faso, 20 killed


Around 20 people were killed and others were taken hostage when Islamist gunmen stormed a hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso,  on January 15.  Al- Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The security forces surrounded the Splendid Hotel and were waiting to begin an assault to rescue the hostages and retake the building, which is frequented by foreigners.   An unnamed US defence official said that France had requested the US intelligence surveillance and support in the city. 

The government is likely to take help from French specialforces stationed in the country. This is the first time Islamist terrorists have carried out an assault in the capital of Burkina Faso. The attack comes months after a deadly raid on a luxury hotel in Mali in November 2015, in which two attackers killed 20 people including citizens of Russia, China and the United States.

The assault in Ouagadougou began in the evening and by 11 pm (local time), sounds of gunfire and explosions had reduced. “We have received around 15 wounded people. There are people with bullet wounds and people who are injured because of falls,” said Robert Sangare, director of Ouagadougou’s university hospital centre.

Burkina Faso has been facing political turmoil since October 2014 when longtime President Blaise Compaore was overthrown during mass protests. The elite troops launched a one-week coup in September 2015. Mali shares a 600 km long boundary with Burkina Faso.

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